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Showing posts from November, 2011

My experience on the Politics Show and why Stephen Gilbert needs to read government press releases.

During the last week I was interviewed by BBC Spotlight about my own experiences trying to get on the 'housing ladder'. Parts of my interview were repeated on the Politics Show South West on sunday morning. I was talking about my own sense of frustration, I am one of the many people in Cornwall who want to simply live in a decent house they can afford. For the record (and if you're my landlord reading this) I have no problem with renting in itself. We pay a fair rent for our property and we are lucky to live somewhere that we can afford to pay the rent every month. The trade off however is that we live in a house without such things as central heating, double glazing, a garden, an allocated parking space and there is a limit to what we can do with the property. So with council houses being rarer than rocking horse dung buying is our only option to finding a suitable property.

The link for the show is here the section on affordable housing is about 34 minutes in, but will o…

LEP Cornwall needs to learn from the Black Country

I have posted a few times recently about the Cornish and Scillonian LEP and it's lack of obvious work. In the last couple of weeks they have announced public consultations (again please do go to them and have your say see here for details) and a website http://www.cornwallandislesofscillylep.com/. I did get to thinking am I being a bit unfair on the LEP perhaps? for whatever reason maybe it does take over a year to set up a website and start the public consultation process, perhaps I am being a little impatient. So whilst waiting for the good news of Mebyon Kernow's electoral success in Wendron last night, I had a look on the internet to see what other LEP's were doing. To be fair, a number have done very little and Cornwall and Scilly is certainly not alone in announcing a board without a clear idea of what they are to do. However, I did stumble across the Black Country LEP website and I was shocked to see the level of work they have done. It would take a long time to li…

A great end to November for Mebyon Kernow & Loveday Jenkin

Barely a month ago I wrote about the defection of Derek Collin's from the Lib Dems to MK and how this was a great end to October for Mebyon Kernow. I was optimistically writing that this should set the tone for November and I hoped we could look forward to a successful month both at the party conference and in the Wendron by election. After a lot of hard work and dedication by our growing number of party activists it was successful and I am holding firmly on to my optimistic frame of mind from now on.

Firstly congratulations to Cornwall Councillor Loveday Jenkin she fought a really hard campaign. Loveday successfully built upon her hard work and long service both on Crowan parish council and -the now lamentably defunct- Kerrier district council to win the election. The dedication shown by Loveday and the reputation she built over the years as a hard working councillor was a great part of her electoral victory. It was great to see the party really coming together to help her in he…

Cornwall and the government must do more for Scilly

I lament the fact that the ancient links between Penzance and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly look in jeopardy. There is still little resolution and a firm plan on the sea link, I welcome the fact that people in Penwith are getting together to try to rescue the mess caused by the Conservative-Independent Cornwall Council (the Penzance Seafront Forum). The helicopter link too looks in doubt short sightedly Cornwall Council granted Sainsburys planning permission to turn the existing heliport site into yet another out of town supermarket for Penzance, despite the fact the heliport had not found a new home. Once again big business has taken precedence and blinded the council to the bigger picture. Whoever we blame for the mess we are in, the very real business, tourism and community links between Penzance and Scilly are in grave doubt, we need to take action.

The undynamic Cornwall Council does not look to be doing anything about these links, they seem more than content to attract the h…

a sincere apology to my readers about my housing blog

I must apologise to you all, on monday I blogged on how the new government policy and existing governments policies for housing were failing the people of Cornwall. In it I had written in response to the BBC article titled Get Britain Building, I had wrongly assumed that this was based upon fact and research in this assumption I was wrong, it is little more than a copied and pasted government press release. At that point the actual firm details of the coalitions plans had not been released and I feel I have let myself and my readers down by taking the government and the BBC at their word. I should have waited for the actual figures to be released and analysed and criticised them properly. Research by Channel Four news -and no doubt others-0re01veals that affordable housing is actually down a staggering 97% on work done by the Labour government. Here is the Channel four article the astonishing numbers the housing strategy failed to mention the pdf file of the actual figures proposed is…

There is an alternative & Mebyon Kernow is fighting for it

Listening to the speeches of the Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards and SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson at the MK conference it was clear to me there is a better way of doing politics and only Mebyon Kernow can offer it to the people of Cornwall. Plaid and the SNP have forged a path not just of devolution but also better governance and  fairer deal for the people of Wales and Scotland this is an example that MK must follow. There are three messages I heard from the two speakers and I heard them clearly and we must fight, strive and shout to offer to Cornwall the better way of politics other Celtic nationalist parties offer. In my opinion the three messages were: 1. there is an alternative we can dare to dream, the public sector can do more to help people. 2. devolution works it provides better governance and better decisions for the people. 3. The SNP and Plaid are proud of their achievements and are proud to be members of parties fighting for a better deal for their respective nations. Here'…

Government housing policy is failing the people of Cornwall

Today the Coalition government has announced it's own policies to solve the housing crisis, the BBC news site leads the story with the title Affordable Home Shortage: Government to reveal plans. First of all we must congratulate the cabinet of millionaires, for realising that housing is problem and restarting the debate over what can and ought to be done. Unfortunately the government has announced plans that offer the same old broken Thatcherite policies that have caused this generation, my generation, most of the problems. Typically for this right wing government it involves free market solutions and is more about bumping up developers profits than the genuine needs of the people and solving the housing crisis.

Yesterday at the Mebyon Kernow conference hours were spent formulating MK's policy toward housing. We recognise as a party that the people of Cornwall are being failed by housing, that the state whether it be in London or Truro are not doing enough to confront the hous…

Cornwall and Scilly LEP gets a website

It is my great pleasure to announce that our LEP finally has a website, well done. It's simple, only one page but it's a website and designed by a Cornish company too. Hopefully it will soon have more information and we can all get to grasps with this mysterious organisation and what it is going to do. Here's the website they've yet to work on their search engine presence as a quick Google search reveals. But I am not complaining too much about that as my blog and others (Alex Folkes & Cornish Zetetics) feature on google and let's face it between us we've done more thinking and writing about the LEP than the organisation has done, at least as far as is obvious to ordinary people.

Cornwall LEP announces public consultations (at last)

So here we are 12 months and 17 days since the LEP bid was announced as successful by the coalition government and the LEP has announced public consultations. Only a day after I blogged criticising the LEP for a lack of discernible action such as consultations. So I was pleased to read of the roadshows being announced on the Business Cornwall newsite, as much as I have criticisms of the LEP particularly their lack of action, I do believe people should turn up listen to what they have to say and give feedback, criticisms and forward their own ideas (list of venues copied below). As much as the MK member in me wants to make party political points about the coalition and their poor economic record in Cornwall, we need the LEP to work for the sake of the Cornish economy and it is imperative upon both the businesses of Cornwall and the public to engage with the LEP and influence it. In particular here the public, despite being funded by taxpayers we have had no say in who should be on the…

Cornwall and Scilly LEP, some thoughts a year in.

Ages ago I blogged about the new Cornwall LEP, arguing that it should learn from the mistakes of the RDA. That it should be more receptive to existing business and try not to solely focus on bringing business to Cornwall, instead building upon what we have already. However, I ought to have argued that the LEP should learn from the successes of the RDA. As much as there were bad investments and hostility to South Crofty mine from the RDA it did have a semblance of strategy and direction. I do not think it was the right strategy and direction but they had a plan and they implemented it. This is in complete contrast to the LEP, take for example their website, here we might expect to find who the LEP is, what they do, what they want to do and how they will achieve it. But alas no, it offers:

"It is anticipated that the Partnership will operate as a company limited by guarantee, with responsibility for understanding and articulating the requirements of business for Cornwall and the Is…

Save West Cornwall Hospital

I meant to write a long and well thought out blog about reasons not to close West Cornwall Hospital, but the excellent blogger An Helghyer has beaten me to it, please do read it here
We have suffered in Penzance from centralisation and there is a familiar pattern to how it occurs, firstly the amount of services are reduced and then the argument is made that the site is no longer viable and not used as much and that people are making do without the services in Penzance. This has happened with the County Court & Revenue and Customs it could happen with our hospital....

Newquay airport, time we had a good chat about it

A few years ago the last Liberal Democrat administration on Cornwall County Council decided to take over what was RAF St Mawgan as a commercial airport. At the time I had mixed feelings about it, obviously as a nationalist I want Cornwall to have assets like airports (and a stadium and a whole host of other things), but on the other hand I was a little concerned about the council running the venture.

The argument for the airport was that it would be a good thing for the Duchy that people coming to and from Cornwall would no longer have to fly to Plymouth, Exeter, Bristol or Cardiff, Birmingham and London. I understand the logic of this, there is a potential for tourists from the rest of this island and overseas to fly direct to here making Cornwall more accessible. The same works in reverse, if Cornish people want to go somewhere why face driving for hundreds of miles before even going near an airport. I am sure I am not the only one to have flown to Ireland and spent a long car journe…

fair funding for Cornish schools an exercise in rhetoric?

I happened across a news story earlier about Cornish schools losing out on millions of government funding for routine maintenance repairs. The Cornish school system now faces a £38 million pound bill. The government system for allocating funding appears to be more postcode lottery than based upon the facts. Accordingly Devon, Torbay, Plymouth and the Isles of Scilly got funding. Be that as it may, I don't begrudge the other areas, you have to take what you can out of an administration that has an Ebenezer Scrooge approach to spending.

I think this is a sad day for Cornwall, we need our schools to be well funded, we pay tax and one of the things we expect in return is decent schooling. Everyone accepts this, as a quick search for fair funding for Cornish schools reveals on google. The first link is to Dan Rogerson's (Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall) site, he argues for fair funding:


"The Liberal Democrats have consistently campaigned for fair funding for Cornwall.  U…